In this Inside Energy podcast special, Leigh Paterson reports on the struggle between two priorities: energy development and housing development. She takes us to Colorado’s Front Range, where drilling rigs and subdivisions are both going up in towns north of Denver. At the intersection of the these two types of development are serious concerns about health and safety.
A surge in production in the Permian Basin of west Texas—-already the nation’s highest producing oilfield — is extracting more crude oil than refiners in Texas can handle. But now, producers in the Permian have new outlets for that oil with economic implications hundreds of miles away from the flatlands of west Texas. Based on crude oil export projections, port officials say they expect to add 5000 direct and indirect jobs in 2017.
“This is not a bubble, this is real growth,” said vessel traffic controller Mike Stineman, as he scanned real time navigation charts indicating vessel traffic at the port. Radio chatter between vessels, the Coast Guard and the Vessel Control Center provided a non-stop soundtrack of the the pulse of the port. A longtime ban on U.S. crude exports was lifted last year.
Oil drilling and production in the many parts of the country is booming again. But in the Permian Basin of west Texas, the boom has a byproduct that producers are considerably less excited about: oil theft. The Houston-based Energy Security Council estimates that this year alone, Texas companies will lose between 10 to 30 million barrels of oil to theft, a revenue loss of $450 million to nearly $1.5 billion at today’s prices.
As coal companies go bankrupt there is growing concern and uncertainty over who will pay to clean up those mines. But Texas has been there before. In 2014, the state’s largest coal company filed for bankruptcy with over $1 billion in outstanding cleanup costs. Now, more than two years later, this case is held up an example of what works.
Historically, electricity pricing has been relatively straightforward: the more you use, the more you pay. But today, that simple equation is not so simple. Increasingly, the time of day when you use electricity factors into the cost as well.
Oil and gas development involves a lot of bright lights: from flares to drilling rigs to new housing for workers. That’s a concern for star gazers, who have documented an increase in light pollution in oilfields in North Dakota and West Texas. Hear how an observatory in Texas an a national park in North Dakota are trying to tackle the oilfield light pollution problem.
Congress is debating lifting the 1970’s era crude oil export ban. The oil industry is divided: Many producers would like to see the ban lifted, while crude oil refineries in this country stand to lose. Lorne Matalon of Marfa Public Radio explains for Inside Energy.
Inside Energy is a collaborative journalism initiative of partners across the US and supported by the Corporation for Public Broadcasting